A boy discovers that he has magnetic powers he can generate with his hands. A lady's grocery bag explodes and he can throw around canned goods without touching them. When he exercises this power, his hands get hot. He finds other kids like himself and discovers that their mothers all took part in testing a new drug while they were in the womb, there may have been a genetic component. There's a scene where they need to erase a bunch of magnetic (video? data?) tapes or computer memory or something like that which they have to generate a strong magnetic field to do so, and the heat becomes almost unbearable.

There are a lot of other questions searching for stories about telekinetic kids, but I distinctly remember that this isn't telekinetic.

It think it was targeted at early readers, 4th-6th grade, so I think short story would be the most accurate classification. But I remember it being in its own binding, so maybe 100 pages.

  • 2
    Sounds like you're mixing in the plot of The Girl with the Silver Eyes, which does have telekinesis, but also has that pregnant-mothers-tested-new-drug plot element.
    – Wingman4l7
    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


The Secret Life of Dilly McBean by Dorothy Haas. I think this is it, as I seem to recall reading a story like this myself when younger, and it's the only book like it in my elementary school's library.

After being orphaned at an early age and spending years in boarding schools, Dilly begins a new life in a real house in a small town, developing secret magnetic powers under the tutelage of a kindly professor, until he is kidnapped by a madman who plans to control the world with a computer.Twelve-year-old Dilloway McBean, a wealthy orphan with strange magnetic powers, puts his magnetism to work as he matches wits with the dastardly Dr. Keenwit, a computer whiz out to steal Dilly's money and seize world power

  • Wow, that sounds like it might be it from the description, but I have my doubts based on the original publish date mentioned on that page (1988). I think it may be earlier. I'll give it a try though.
    – thwarted
    Oct 14, 2013 at 5:49
  • @thwarted: I don't suppose you ever got a chance to find out if this was the one?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 11 at 13:46

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